Scuba diving is an exercise in facing fear, and this underwater sport will test anyone’s limits.
For Farhan “Ronny” Ahmed, adaptive scuba has been a building block on his path to less pain and more success in life.
In 2014, Ahmed was shot twice and paralyzed during a mass-shooting on the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee, Fla. The first bullet paralyzed Ahmed from the waist down. The second collapsed his lung, broke two of his ribs and damaged nerves in his right hand, just missing his heart.
He struggled to adjust to his new life. But Ahmed says meeting certified Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) instructor Gabrielle K. Gabrielli, PhD, while recovering in the neuro-ICU at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in Florida, is how his new life started to take shape. Gabrielli helped Ahmed see he still had opportunities.
“I knew he liked the outdoors,” Gabrielli says. “When he asked me if he would be able to dive with paralysis, I told him that he would become just as good or better than non-disabled divers. We spent several months working on the basic skills for open water scuba, though it was apparent from his first pool session he was a natural.”
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